Throwback: 14 Years on since Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s Battle of Surfaces

It has been 14-years since the Battle of Surfaces match played between the then World No. 1 Roger Federer and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

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Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

2nd May is a special date in tennis history. For the first time ever, a special court was prepared that was half Grass and half Clay, favourite surfaces of the then World No. 1 and World No. 2, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The match was played on 2nd May, 2007 in the capital city of Rafael Nadal’s home island, Palma de Mallorca. The match was played on a unique court that had 2 different surfaces on either side of the court, clay surface on one side and grass on the other. The court costed $1.63 million and took 19 days to prepare.

The exhibition match called the ‘Battle of Surfaces’ was organised to determine who is the best player in the world. At the time of the match, Nadal was unbeaten in 72 consecutive clay court matches and Federer was on a 48-game undefeated streak on grass court matches.

“It’ll be fun to find out what it’s like to play on a court with mixed surfaces!” said Roger Federer before the Battle of Surfaces clash with Rafael Nadal

Battle of Surfaces match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Battle of Surfaces match between Federer and Nadal

Before the much anticipated match, Roger Federer had said, “We are both looking forward to this absolutely new event. The idea really appeals to me as we both dominate one of the surfaces. Rafa holds the record of 72 victories in series on clay and I have not been defeated on grass since 48 matches. It’ll be fun to find out what it’s like to play on a court with mixed surfaces!”

“And it ought to be interesting to see who chooses the better tactic. People have been talking about this event for quite a while. Now it’s coming up pretty soon already and I like the fact that the stadium – which is very nice, by the way – is located on Majorca, Rafa’s home. He has been to Basel, after all, and now I’ve got the opportunity to play at his place for once.”

Rafael Nadal came out victorious in the match, winning 7–5, 4–6, 7–6(12–10), also saved match points in the final set that went deep into the tie-break. A treat for the fans, this match will always be remembered for it’s uniqueness and the great battle the two champions put on as always.

Also Read: “Rafael Nadal maybe the greatest ever player” says fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez

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